The holidays are fast approaching, and along with all the parties, presents, and good cheer comes financial stress as we try to keep up with it all. But with a bit of planning, you can get through this time of the year without a major financial hangover come January.
Here are our top tips for keeping your finances under control during the holiday season:
1. Set a holiday budget
Before the holiday madness starts, take a look at your budget and confirm your monthly disposable income. Figure out how much you can reasonably spend on gifts, trips, and holiday merriment. Knowing your total budget in advance is the best first step to making sure things stay under control this holiday season.
2. Reduce unnecessary expenses
Take a look at your bank account or credit card bill. Is there anything you normally “splurge” on that you could cut out this month? Forgoing that daily coffee run or eating out less could make a big difference in increasing your budget for extra holiday expenses during this time of year.
3. Make a list and prioritize it
Determine your top financial priorities for this holiday season and make sure you allocate budget to those first. For the non-essential purchases, think about where you could save a little by making a homemade gift or “giving” your time instead. Chances are, Grandma would appreciate a homemade meal and an afternoon of quality time more than an expensive new gift, anyway!
4. Track your holiday spending
Start a spreadsheet or list to hold yourself accountable. Document every present, hostess gift, new holiday outfit, or plane ticket you buy, so you can easily track how much you’re spending vs. how much you have left in your holiday budget.
5. Consider a personal loan
We know that sometimes, life happens, and during the holidays there are a lot of extra expenses and financial obligations. If you have to extend your budget to get through the holiday season, taking out a personal loan can be a smart alternative to charging a lot of purchases to your high-interest rate credit card. With a personal loan, you can take advantage of low, fixed rates, and the knowledge that you can circle the date you’ll be debt free—a major holiday stress reducer!
With these tips, the holidays don’t have to be a stressful experience you’re paying for until long after the tree has come down and the snow has melted. A financially stress-free holiday season is something we can all celebrate!
SOURCE: LENDING CLUB